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While the Picos de Europa are a walkers and climbers paradise, drives in the area, predominantly in the valleys surrounding the mountains, are also very rewarding. Here are three recommendations.

 

Cangas de Onís to Covadonga and the lakes of Enol and Ercina.

24km (40 minutes) each way. After exploring the historic town of Cangas de Onís, this drive heads 12km south-east to the picturesque setting of historic Covadonga, before climbing to the mountain lakes of Enol and Ercina. Views of the lakes with the peaks of the western massif behind them are spectacular. This route climbs from valley-bottom to montane habitat, and includes two viewpoints of note – one just above Covadonga looking back to the cathedral; and the Queen’s Viewpoint on the way to the lakes, looking out over valleys to the north. The King’s Viewpoint and Prince’s Viewpoint can be reached from the lakes.

 

soto de sajambre

Soto de Sajambre

Cangas de Onís along the Beyos Gorge to Oseja de Sajambre.

34km (1¼ hours) each way. From Cangas de Onís this drive heads south along the valley of the River Sella, through villages and riverside meadows, before entering the dramatic Beyos Gorge. The river here is 1000m lower in altitude than the peaks on either side. After the road crosses several bridges, above one of which there is a path to a small waterfall, the valley opens out again, and you climb to Oseja de Sajambre, where there are places to eat and stay. Two worthwhile side-trips are up to the villages of Amieva and Soto de Sajambre. This drive can be extended to the top of the Pass of Panderruedas (1450m), or further to Posada de Valdeón, or even further to Caín (40 minutes one way from Oseja de Sajambre).

 

Fuente De teleferico

Picos de Europa complete circuit.

190km (5½ hours) round trip. This route, if driving anticlockwise and starting in Cangas de Onís, is as follows:- Cangas de Onís, through the Beyos Gorge to Oseja de Sajambre, over the Pass of Panderruedas (1450m) to Posada de Valdeón, over the Pass of Pandetrabe (1562m) and the Pass of San Glorio (1598m) to Potes, through the Liébana gorge to Panes, along the River Cares to Arenas de Cabrales, and back through the valleys to Cangas de Onís. There are possible side-trips to Amieva (3km each way), Soto de Sajambre (3km each way), Caín (7km each way), Fuente De (23km each way), Santa Maria de Lebeña church, Poncebos (6km each way), Sotres (another 11km beyond Poncebos), and the lakes of Enol and Ercina (20km each way). This is a long drive, often on winding mountain roads, passing through spectacular scenery with plenty of viewpoints, and lots to explore en-route. The drive takes 5½ hours non-stop – to enjoy and explore properly allow several hours more than this.

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